Survivor Wiki
Survivor Wiki

Jail Break (also known as The Great Escape, Pirate Prison Break, and Back in the Saddle) is a challenge that originated in Survivor: Thailand as a tribal challenge. It has also been used as a Redemption Island duel.


When used as a tribal challenge, players are locked in a makeshift jail cell and shackled. To escape, players must use the resources provided to create a long pole to retrieve three keys. These keys are to be used to unlock their shackles and they must then dig out of the cell. The first tribe to get all of their members out of the cell would win.

In the individual Redemption Island version of the challenge, players are no longer shackled. Because of this, the keys are now used to unlock the cell door. In Edge of Extinction and Winners at War, the castaways first had to climb a net and retrieve bags of sticks before working on the cell door portion of the challenge. After getting through the cell door, they then had to navigate a ball to the top of a vertical snake maze.


This challenge debuted in Survivor: Thailand. Shackled by locks, each tribe would be placed in a jail cell. Using the resources on the ground, they had to escape the cell by reaching for the keys that hung on posts outside of the cell. They would then unlock their shackles and dig out of the jail. The Chuay Gahn tribe beat Sook Jai for immunity.

In Survivor: The Amazon, in order to escape of the cage, the tribe members had to untie a series of ropes in order to release a machete. Then the tribes had to use their machete to cut through a rope, undo another series of knots in order to release a plank, which will in turn release a pole. They then used the pole to retrieve a set of keys on the outside of the cage. Once the keys were collected, they unlocked their chains and released their escape hatch. Jaburu won their second Immunity Challenge, sending Tambaqui to Tribal Council.

In Survivor: Pearl Islands, the challenge was used as the Immunity Challenge of the Outcasts twist. If The Outcasts beat one tribe, they would vote one member back into the game and the losing tribe would vote somebody out, but if they beat both tribes, they would vote two members back into the game and both tribes would vote somebody out. The Outcasts infamously won this challenge, sending both Drake and Morgan to Tribal Council.

In Survivor: Redemption Island, the challenge was used as the first ever Redemption Island duel. The castaways had to build a long pole out of sticks and rope. They would then use the pole to retrieve three keys hanging outside their cells. Once all the keys were retrieved, they had to unlock three padlocks on their cell doors, open the door, and walk through. Matt Elrod defeated Francesca Hogi in this challenge, eliminating her for good.

In Survivor: South Pacific the concept of the challenge was the same as in the season before it. This time it was used as the final pre-merge Redemption Island duel. Ozzy Lusth defeated Redemption Island champion, Christine Shields Markoski, re-entering the game and eliminating Christine.

In Survivor: Blood vs. Water, the challenge was be used as the duel between Katie Collins, Laura Morett, and Katie's mother, Tina Wesson. Tina gave advice to Katie in hopes of having her and Katie advance together. Unfortunately for the mother and daughter, Laura M. was able to continue her Redemption Island dominance and come in first. Katie initially had the lead, but when she dropped the second key in the sand, she was unable to get it out. This enabled Tina to catch and beat her daughter. Before opening the door and walking through, Tina asked Katie if she was alright with her doing it. Katie said she was alright with her mother advancing, which meant Katie was eliminated for good. Victory was bittersweet for Tina as Katie was permanently out of the game while she stayed on Redemption Island.

In Survivor: Cambodia, the challenge was incorporated as the final part of the Quest for Fire challenge, where contestants would have to retrieve a key to open the cell door and light their tribe's flame. Bayon defeated Ta Keo to win immunity, sending Ta Keo to Tribal Council with no time to strategize.

In Survivor: Edge of Extinction, the castaways from Edge of Extinction were first to climb atop a net crawl to retrieve a bag before going to their respective gates, where they would use sticking and string to build a pole to retrieve keys to unlock their cell door. After getting through the door, castaways would have to navigate a ball to the top a vertical snake maze, while standing on balance beam, from A Bridge You Must Cross. Rick Devens would ultimately win the challenge, and a spot back into the game.

Reappearing in Winners at War, the challenge was identical to the Edge of Extinction counterpart, once again being merged with A Bridge You Must Cross. Everyone except Amber Mariano, Parvati Shallow, and Yul Kwon purchased an advantage that allowed them to skip digging up their strings. Rob Mariano was the first to make it through the gate, although Tyson Apostol overtook him on the maze section, with Tyson just barely edging out the competition to sink his ball first, earning himself a spot back in the game.


Episode Challenge Type Winner
Tribal Immunity S5 brian t.pngS5 clay t.png
S5 helen t.pngS5 jan t.pngS5 ted t.png
Chuay Gahn
The Amazon
"Girl Power"
Tribal Immunity S6 christy t.pngS6 deena t.pngS6 heidi t.png
S6 jeanne t.pngS6 jenna t.pngS6 joanna t.pngS6 shawna t.png
Pearl Islands
"What the...? (Part 1)"
Tribal Immunity S7 burton t.pngS7 lillian t.pngS7 michelle t.png
S7 nicole t.pngS7 ryans t.pngS7 trish t.png
The Outcasts
Redemption Island
"Keep Hope Alive"
Duel S22 matt t.png
Matt Elrod
South Pacific
"Double Agent"
Duel S23 ozzy t.png
Ozzy Lusth
Blood vs. Water
"Out on a Limb"
Duel S27 lauram t.png
Laura Morett
S27 tina t.png
Tina Wesson
"Second Chance"
Tribal Reward/Immunity S31 andrew t.pngS31 ciera t.pngS31 jeremy t.png
S31 joe t.pngS31 kass t.pngS31 keith t.pngS31 kimmi t.png
S31 monica t.pngS31 stephen t.pngS31 tasha t.png
Edge of Extinction
"There's Always a Twist"
Duel S38 rick t.png
Rick Devens
Winners at War
"This Is Where the Battle Begins"
Duel S40 tyson t.png
Tyson Apostol



  • This challenge was used in all seasons to feature the Redemption Island twist: Redemption Island, South Pacific, and Blood vs. Water.
    • It is one of three challenges to have this achievement. The other two are Snag, Drag and Bag and House of Cards.
    • It and Snag, Drag and Bag are the only ones to appear as a duel in all three seasons. 
  • In Pearl Islands, The Outcasts did not sit anyone out despite having an extra member. Despite having to rescue one extra person, they still won the challenge.
  • The majority of the times this challenge has been used, it was fought by players trying to return into the game.
    • It has been used as a Redemption Island duel in three of its uses, twice for the Edge of Extinction re-entry duel, and once as an Immunity Challenge featuring The Outcasts.


Recurring Challenges
A Bit Dinghy · A Bit Tipsy · A Crate Idea · A Leg Up · A Numbers Game · Air Raid · Angry Chair · Around the Bend · Back in Slack · Balancing Point · Ballin' A Jack · Barrel Bridge · Barrel of Monkeys · Basket Brawl · Better Homes and Island Living · Beyond the Wheel · Blind Leading the Blind · Blue Lagoon Bustle · Blue Plate Special · Boats, Brains & Brawn · Bone to Pick · Boulder Smash · Bow Diddley · Box Your Mind · Braille Maze · Broken China · Buggin' Out · Build It Up, Break It Down · Butch Cassidy · By Any Means Necessary · By the Numbers · Can't Buoy Me Love · Cannonball Run · Caught in the Web · Cell Block Sea · Challenge Pitch · Chief's Choice · Chimney Sweep · Chinese Zodiac Symbols · Choose Your Weapon · Coconut Juice · Crate Escape · Crocodile Rock · Crosswalk · Cube Crisis · Dear Liza · Dive Masters · Dizzy Miss Lizzy · Domino Effect · Draggin' the Dragon · Dragging the River · Drop A Log · Dulcimer Stomp · End of the Line · Fallen Comrades · Fast Fire · Faulty Towers · Fauxconut Bowling · Fire and Water · Fire Fighter · Float Your Boat · Floating Puzzle · Game of Bridge · Gatecrasher · Get a Grip · Get Barreled · Get Hooked · Get Your Goat · Gimme Three Steps · Great Escape Run · Hands on a Hard Idol · Hear About It Ladder · Hot Pursuit · House of Cards · House of the Holey · Idol Hands · Jail Break · Jump Shot · Jungle Love · Jungle Relay · Kamikaze · Keel Hauling · Keep It Up · Keep on Your Toes · Kenny Log-Ins · Kicking and Screaming · Kitty Litter · Know Your Loved One · Ladder Tree Golf · Last Gasp · Letter Hunt · Lock, Load and Light · Lock Step · Log Jam · Losing Face · Mask Match · Matchmaker · Matt Finish · Memory · Mud Pack · Mud Slide · Muddy Waters · New School · New Tribe Member · Nut Bucket · O-Black Water · Odd Shaped Bottoms · Operation Balance Build · Out on a Limb · Over-Extended · Paddle Battle · Paddle Out · Perch · Pilfering Pirates · Piranha Feast · Pole Dancing · Pot Head · Push Me, Pull You · Puzzle Dig · Pyramid Scheme · Q and A · Quest for Fire · Race to Shore · Ram-Ball On · Reinventing The Wheel · Rescue Mission · Rice Race · Rise and Shrine · Rock Bottom · Rock n' Roll · Rod Screw-It · Roll With It · Roller Ball · Running Down a Dream · · Sacrificial Lamb · Schmergen Brawl · Sea Crates · Sea Legs · Sea Salvage · Shipwrecked · Shoot 'n' Shuffle · Shooting Gallery · Shoulder the Load · Simmotion · Slip, Slide & Score · Slither Me Timbers · Smash and Grab · Snag, Drag and Bag · Snake in the Grass · Snake Island Relay · SOS Signal · Spear-it Hunt · Spit It Out · Splash Back · Sprung A Leak · Squared Off · Squatty Probst · Stacked Up · Stairway to Heaven · Stairway to the Stars · Star Man · Station By Station · Step on Up · Stomp-ede · Strung Out · Sumo at Sea · Survivor Auction · Survivor History · Survivor Pentathlon · Survivor Quiz Show · Swahili Scramble · Swing Break · Temple Transfer · The Ball Drop · The Cruel Sea · The Game is Afoot · The Gauntlet · The Home Stretch · The Maze · The Obstacle Course · This Much · Thrash, Splash & Bash · TLP O-Course · Tomb Raider · Troubled Water · Uncomfortably Numb · United We Stand · Vampire Bats · Vertically Challenged · Vertigo · Wall to Wall · Well Stacked · What-er Drag · When It Rains, It Pours · Wicker Flicker · Will It Go Round · Witch Hunt · Wrist Assured · Yank Your Hank · You Shook Me